How to empower your employees

Chris Huie-Spence on Necker Island with Richard Branson at a Virgin Unite gathering
Chris Huie-Spence
Holly Branson
Holly Branson's writing
Published on 5 October 2022

Helping people to flourish at work is one of the most important things a business can do. It’s one of my biggest motivations as Chief Purpose and Vision Officer at Virgin, and I’ve seen first-hand how everyone (including your business) benefits when you bring out the best in one another.

This understanding came naturally to us at Virgin – it’s just the way dad did business. He saw no distinction between the way you treat family, friends, customers and colleagues… and he still doesn’t! It created a very special workplace culture, and it’s something we’ve tried to hold onto as the brand grew and grew.

As we now have more than 55,000 people all around the world, we wanted to do something meaningful to bring the Virgin companies together. So, we created ‘Together We Can’ – a project with group-wide celebrations, prizes, and trips all around the world (from Necker Island to Morocco). The experiences were designed to champion purpose-driven behaviour; unlock personal growth; and create space for collaboration, inclusion, meaningful friendships, and new ideas.

Together We Can 2022

On the first trip, Chris Huie-Spence from Virgin Galactic went to Necker Island with Dad for one of Virgin Unite’s Disrupting for Good gatherings. The gatherings are the most incredible and intimate experiences where some of the most brilliant innovators come together to find solutions to big global problems.

The second trip sent a group of incredible people from Virgin Media O2, Virgin Atlantic and Virgin Orbit all the way to New Orleans to stay at the brillaitn Virgin Hotels we have in the city and join discussions around workplace culture and ways to empower colleagues to be themselves at work.

Virgin Hotels New Orleans
Virgin Hotels New Orleans

The third trip took team members from Virgin Management and Virgin Atlantic to Morocco – staying at Virgin Limited Edition’s incredible Kasbah Tamabdot in the foothills of the Atlas Mountains where the entire team is Moroccan, and mostly from the local Berber communities. It's also where my wonderful granny established the Eve Branson Foundation to create education and employment opportunities for the surrounding villages. This trip was centred on ways to help communities to thrive, and the group worked with the foundation's projects on the ground to explore the best ways to support communities, build meaningful relationships, and strengthen human connections.

It's incredible to see the collective and amplified impact coming out of these experiences, and the encouragement and inspiration the experiences have provided to the recipients. Huge congratulations to each of the prize winners and to everyone who lives and breathes our purpose, and makes Virgin such a special place to work.